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April 5, 2009

News & Opinion: Impossible to Grasp

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 10:03 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I have been recommending The Innovator's Dilemma by Clay Christensen to a lot of people lately. There are so many industries being ravaging by disruptive innovations. Publishing of all flavors is being forever changed by print-on-demand, the internet, and the amateur. Pick your poison. And that is just one example.

Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody describes perfectly the incumbent perspective:

The principle threat to the Richmond Daily News, and indeed all newspapers small and large, was not competition from other newspapers but radical changes in the overall ecosystem of information. The idea that someone might build four-color presses that ran around the clock was easy to grasp. The idea that the transmission of news via paper might become a bad idea, that all those huge noisy printing presses might be like steam engines in the age of internal combustion, was almost impossible to grasp. Howard [Clay's uncle] could imagine someone doing what he did, but better. He couldn't imagine someone making what he did obsolete.

If you missed it in hardcover, Here Comes Everybody is new out in paperback for $16.

P.S. What is the chance I could more perfectly tie two business books authors whose names both begin with Clay?


About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.